Monday, January 11, 2016

Looking for Gordo, by Robert J. Sawyer

Published in Future Visions:Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft, edited by Elizabeth Bear, Melchior Media, November 2015

It's 2030, and a long-anticipated event has finally come to pass: We have confirmed contact from an intelligent alien species. It wasn't recognized immediately; its discovery had to wait for the resources to search the stored data from years of recording everything picked up by the SETI radiotelescope arrays. But when that happened, they found that intelligent beings 47 Ursae Majoris had sent, not just a contact signal, but the Reticulum--the entirety of their equivalent of the World Wide Web.

From that, Emily Chiu has developed an AI representing an individual of the Ursae majoris species. And now, a mock trial is being held to publicly debate the question of whether humanity should respond in kind, or whether it's simply too dangerous to confirm our existence. Maybe the reason it's taken so long to find intelligent life is because intelligent species that announce themselves get invaded! The AI avatar of one of the aliens that Emily Chiu has created is an important witness in the "trial."

This is a slight but interesting and fun story. Definitely worth the few minutes of your time needed to read it.